Pearls

My first strand of pearls were from my maternal grandmother when I was around six years old. I often wore them. I also often wore perfume, curled my hair and wore fingernail polish.

Once and a while an adult or child would comment about how “adult-like” or if they were being kind “sophisticated” my style was. But it seems regardless of what I wore I was born to be an unintentionally polarizing person and it showed even in childhood.

As I’ve said many times, I was viciously bullied by my peers until around age 10. It was cruel. And, too often, adults weren’t protective or even all that sympathetic. Instead, they often found my pretty little face and precocious (often right-brained) intelligence off-putting or too threatening to their view of themselves or their world. Or there’s just something about my soul they found…unsettling. Maybe they just read too much into things. …But, no, even as a child I was someone people wanted to shut-up, abuse, control, overpower and/or silence lest they have to deal with some unpleasant truth about something.

Being a sweet, sensitive person who also loves themselves in a healthy way, I would occasionally stand up for myself but it was never clear to me what game most people were trying to play or why they were playing it. And I still often don’t know the best way or time to fight with people who decide to attack me unprovoked. Also, unfortunately, being a peaceful person, I almost never ever pick fights despite what others have occasionally perceived over the years?? It’s all still, too often, overwhelmingly painful and confusing to figure out.

On a side-note, this is all contributed to why I adored Caroline Calloway when I first heard of her as I readily identified with the huge amount of animosity, annoyance and hate she seems to garner with the blink of an eye. Except, I’ve come to realize that she’s not exactly innocent in the equation (dear lady) whereas, sadly, I often…am. I don’t consider myself a victim almost ever though and never have, and if I ever am a victim I often see it more as a victim of circumstance than any one particular person or group. Maybe I should change my mind on that last part though… Some friends have suggested it. They tell me that they think most of my life it’s been issues of class anxiety that have been at the core of the majority of the “hatred” I’ve experienced. At least, in one convoluted way or another it all stems back to that issue, they believe. Maybe, if reincarnation is true, some even go on to further suggest, it’s an unresolved issue (obviously begging to be addressed) from my last life.

“Don’t cast your pearls before swine”. I don’t think of anyone as swine but goodness, sometimes people’s blindness to their darker motivations and feelings can create that sort of ugly and unsustainable emotional atmosphere, at least. And, perhaps some are aware but are too absent from life or exhausted in one way or another to be fully logical or empathetic about things.

Pearls.

I have a love/hate relationship with pearls. I think they symbolize a part of me that’s been beaten, ignored and/or misunderstood. And when something beautiful like pearls evokes personal feelings like that – ones that are achy, soiled and frightening – I always know it’s a cue to lean in fearlessly and yet carefully and take a risk.

I’ve tried to wear pearls more consistently so many times in the past but I’ve chickened out. I know people will mock me if I wear them regularly because…there’s something about me wearing pearls that means something to the universe (yes, I’m a Christian and I believe there’s a spiritual consciousness we all participate in knowingly or not). And perhaps it’s something people aren’t ready to deal with yet… But maybe…they don’t have a choice anymore.

…And on a political side-note, the landscape has wildly changed since my last comments about Trump. It’ll be interesting to see where the pieces fall. And I’ll be reasonably far away from it in safety, thank God. How about you? Do you feel removed? This is one time being in a currently literally frigid area, heavily influenced by Scandinavian culture of the past (if not the present) and equally influenced by the pioneer mindset, positioned right next to Canada…feels very nice.

And actually, it reminds me once of something a guy friend said to me in college during my first semester.

“I’d love to be President someday.” I said dreamily over lunch.

“If you weren’t so cute I’d honestly think you were a total asshole right now.” he replied.

“Why?” I asked confused and hurt.

“Well, I mean, think if a guy said that. Wouldn’t you think he was an asshole? I mean it comes across as so conceited, even though I know you didn’t mean it that way. With you it’s just cute.” He smiled. “And, I mean, unless you have millionaires in your family it’s unlikely to even work. How would you even finance it?” he concluded with great certainty and conviction.

“Well…ok. Yeah, I get what you mean.” I said embarrassed and still somewhat confused. And I kind of did, although now knowing what I do about many things I didn’t know then, it all makes me cringe and seethe with anger at his ignorance and also his misogyny to think of it.

“No. My family aren’t millionaires.” I also stupidly replied. He looked like a telling mixture of relieved, pleased, confused and oddly disappointed all at once by that last response. At the time that seemed like the right response to that sort of question though for lots of reasons, and of course, now I know that that just wasn’t the correct thing to say in that situation. *laughing and rolling my eyes*

But…again…I look at that conversation and the opportunities I had afterward and before to actually “make something of myself” politically that I didn’t take full advantage of because in part I felt too disillusioned from years of hearing the same crud over and over and…I feel lucky. At least in that regard being pushed away from the fire and into a blizzard has been oddly protective. But God is benevolent and clever after all, I suppose.

Dune (Repost)

A salty, oakmoss-green and crisp rose and peony are flanked by a haunting woody warmth (Dior 1991). The opening is sublime. Other delicate florals emerge in a bed of amber hued beauty. Airy yet opulent, Dune is a sunny, late summer or early fall day at the seaside; one with the smell of rose bushes and green woods wafting from land to shore. And into the drydown it sweetens and mellows to nothing but a kiss of the sun.

Top notes: bergamot, mandarin, aldehyde, and peony. Middle notes: jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, lily, and wallflower. Base notes: vanilla, patchouli, benzoin, sandalwood, amber, oakmoss, and musk.

Noses: Nejla Barbir and Jean-Louis Sieuzac

English Pear & Freesia (Repost)

I think I may have found my perfect pear fragrance with English Pear & Freesia (Jo Malone 2010). But then again, I might not have. I’m unsure.

The melon starts off as a nice compliment to the pear. The freesia along with rose are very present. And the base notes are each bold but also almost in perfect equilibrium with each other so as to create a colorful but balanced base.

It’s very nice!

The thing is, while I’m starting to love Jo Malone, I also struggle to fully embrace it, as it is not my native aesthetic. A part of me wants to find a pear with more wallop.

Hmm…

In the meantime I’m loving my mini atomizer. And I’m loving how truly and inherently lovely this house is.

Top notes: pear and melon. Middle notes: rose and freesia. Base notes: rhubarb, amber, patchouli, and musk.

Bijan for women (Repost)

Opulent.

To me, this classic 1980’s fragrance is the epitome of the decadence of that era. But also, today in 2018, vintage Bijan (Bijan Bijan 1986) smells quite niche.

It’s rich, engaging, and nearly aromatic in its intensity. The opening is warm, with florals arranging themselves adorned in base notes that shimmer like expensive gold baubles. Then a fairly green narcissus, carnation and rose seem to stand out most. Sweet woods introduce themselves finally, after flirting indefinitely. And as it continues one becomes entranced.

In the bitter cold of winter I imagine this is just loud enough to be heard. But I can only imagine how beautiful and lush Bijan must be on a mid-summer day. …I’ll find out next year!

Top notes: ylang-ylang, narcissus, orange blossom, bergamot, neroli and pimeto. Middle notes: Persian jasmine, Bulgarian rose, lily-of-the-valley, carnation, honey, orrisroot and tuberose. Base notes: Moroccan oakmoss, sandalwood, patchouli, amber, benzoin, cedar, heliotrope, musk, Tonka bean and vanilla.

Nose: Peter Bohm

1A-33 (Repost)

Oh J. F. Schwarlose.

Is it fair to say that this reminds me of Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Bianca Nerolia?  Because it does.  And I both love that and hate that.

Where Nerolia Bianca is brighter, more cheerful, more definitive and perhaps a little prettier, 1A-33 (J.F. Schwarlose 2012) is more delicate, elegant and mysterious.   I love Bianca Nerolia.  I almost love 1A-33…

Actually, if I try not to compare them I find myself liking 1A-33 more, but if I do compare them intentionally I like Bianca Nerolia more. 

Indeed, when I wore them both at the same time I loved the Guerlain. When I wore 1A-33 by itself (twice)…I was really tempted to buy a full bottle of it.

*sigh*

The thing is, 1a-33 changes.  Nerolia Bianca is more linear.  BUT…I’m not sure I love the way 1a-33 changes.

Hmmm…

Oh, goodness, I likely won’t buy a full bottle of this Schwarzlose.  However, I think it’s a very nice one.  AND…goodness…I need to investigate this house even more!

Top notes: lime blossom, pink pepper, dew drop and mandarin orange.  Middle notes: magnolia and jasmine sambac.  Base notes: iris and cedar.  

Nose: Veronique Nyberg

Une Belle Journée (Repost)

Une Belle Jouenée (Paul Emelien 2014) is magical. Somehow, when you first apply it, the iris, mint, rose, mandarin, jasmine and geranium read as…DILL! Fresh from the farmer’s market on a summer day, unbelievably and uncharacteristically elegant dill… And, I adore it.

Then, it shifts about a little and the notes separate to form individual accords. Iris, mint and rose seem to be friends. Peony, plush immortelle, and violet leaf are buddies. And oakmoss, mandarin and rose seem to want iris to join their little gang…

At least, that’s how my nose experiences it.

…And as these notes clamor about for their place, a gorgeous fragrance is formed and projected nicely from the skin… 😍 I’m starting to think that I adore Paul Emelien.

Top notes: mandarin orange, iris, mint, Turkish rose and like. Middle notes: immortelle, rose, peony, jasmine, geranium, pink pepper, and violet leaf. Base notes: oakmoss, leather and jasmine.

Nose: Patrick Bodifée

Earl Grey & Cucumber (Repost)

Earl Grey & Cucumber starts off with a very noticeable blend of individual notes (bergamot in particular) that in combination smell like earl grey tea indeed. And it’s lovely!! (Jo Malone 2011)

Then, this tea scent moves into the realm of more powdery fragrances with a gentle, slightly fruity, slightly musky, vanilla-laced charm.

Overall, this isn’t a fragrance to make noise with necessarily, but Earl Grey & Cucumber has a polite, somewhat unflinching and certainly elegant presence. Every once in a while, as it wears, you smell its pleasant wafts.

So far, in general, I’m incredibly impressed with Jo Malone. I know it’s changed over the years, and I know I’m beyond “late to the party”, but…as a permanently stressed-out 35 year old mom I’m rediscovering this house now and just how truly divine it is! At the moment I don’t need anything to remind me of the inherent craziness and chaos of life and Jo Malone is extremely welcome with its reassuring, pretty and definitely calm loveliness. Perfection!

Bring on more… Please!

Top notes: apple, bergamot, jasmine and aquatic notes. Middle notes: cucumber, angelica and davana. Base notes: vanilla, bees wax, cedar and musk.

Mystère De Rochas (Another New Review)

Vintage Chanel No. 19, vintage Fidji and vintage Jean Couturier Coriandre are in the same 1960’s/1970’s green, opulent land of evocatively bitter oakmoss, provocative florals and sharp bergamot. To wear a well preserved vintage bottle of one of these is nearly life-changing.

*sigh*

And that my friends is why vintage Mystère de Rochas (Rochas 1978) is relatively expensive (for a bottle of perfume) these days. A 2 fl. oz. bottle can easily be around $400.00. Just for a Rochas!? Why yes. It’s that exquisite.

Of course, not all will clamor to its pristine shrine of mystery. Some may find it off-putting in this day of sweet, friendly scents made for certain glamor or agreeability. And don’t get me wrong, those have their very valuable and highly commendable places… I own those bottles too and love wearing them. …But then there are the raw, honest beauties of bygone eras of now impossible ingredients who dare to offend but of course just end up moving a perfume lover’s heart instead. Mystère de Rochas is one of them.

Too bad I just have a mini. I’ll add it to my list. Ha!

Nose: Nicholas Mamounas

Top notes: Coriandre, galbanum, hiacynth, aldehydes and bergamot. Middle notes: Carmation, tuberose, violet, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley, narcissus, rose de mai, cumin, rosemary, gardenia and plum. Base notes: Styrax, cypress, patchouli, musk, civet, oakmoss, cedar and sandalwood.

Raybans

So…a while ago, I had someone tell me, “You seem like the sort of person who would wear Raybans.” And despite whatever I told them at the time to the contrary, they were right. I mean, they’re delightful. A lot of chic shades cost more than the traditional Wayfarers and go out of style in a few years or just become unusable due to wear. For around $150.00 you can look instantly cool. I mean, sorry, that sounds corny I guess, but look at someone wearing Wayfarers and tell me you don’t automatically think of Tom Cruise in “Risky Business” or James Dean on his motorcycle or…*shrug* some young female, leather coat wearing ingenue.

They’re the ultimate classic pair of sunglasses. And goodness knows I do love the classics.

Today as I’m sitting in a rare peaceful moment writing this and reflecting on many things, I’m finding my thoughts wandering to the ultimate pearl necklace and Wayfarers. …And I’m debating on whether or not to buy a new winter coat. Are North Face women’s puffers from 2015 still socially acceptable? I mean…has fashion moved so far beyond that look that I’ll be judged? And goodness knows people look and do make assumptions. *pondering face* The thing is, I’d like to use my coat and not waste environmental resources or money… It’s still in good enough condition. *shrug*

But…truly, I have nightmarish memories of a mother who wore a huge 1980’s down coat meant for the Alaskan Tundra and loud (they literally made a lot of noise when she walked) snow boots while grocery shopping. She almost looked like a homeless lady except for her hair and what she was buying and not everyone is that observant or perceptive. …I mean, yes, it was the dead of Minnesota winter and that was at the core of her very sane reasoning for wearing these items, but in 1990’s upscale suburbia it was social suicide. And I felt the repercussions of it acutely as a vulnerable child. I’m embarrassed to say that I’d follow her around at a distance as she’d get grotesque stares from the bourgeois neighbors who couldn’t believe anyone would appear that way in public and seemed to find it nearly repulsive. Ha! …As much as I learned a lot about “adults”, social class and how to develop a thick skin about certain things and to have genuine self-confidence from those moments, I don’t want my kids to feel the very real level of intense social anxiety and rejection I did due to the way people misunderstood my mom (or dad) on occasion .

…Of course, nowadays her old coat would be considered terribly edgy and super chic. Sadly though, she got rid of it many years ago. *laugh* …I will say this however, people do award more “acceptance points” for “old people’s style whims” now than they did back then, I think. I feel like…since sustainability wasn’t as big of a deal in people’s minds back then (and it was a somewhat better economy and it was pre-9/11) you were expected to over-update everything (the pinnacle of that trend maybe came recently with so-called, “fast fashion”.). In 2016 I wore my North Face winter coat to a Target in a semi posh area outside of Seattle and a group of teenage/very young adult girls commented loudly about how my coat was so 2008. But as I moved around more and they saw more of my face (they had just seen me from behind up until then) I think they suddenly realized that I wasn’t their age and was instead in my 30’s and from what I recall they then backed off with their commentary and I just became fuddy-duddy mom/older relative material to them instead of “super uncool peer” wearing a totally stupid coat.

…And actually, as I’ve also noted before it’s fashionable nowadays to look a little ratty, confused and unattractive. Ha! Yeah…I’m being honest.

In the last year I heard an older “cool girl” walk past me at elegant shopping location and comment on how, “…everyone here has a Louis Vuitton! God! They must be giving them away! I should go and see if they’ll give me one too!” to the laughs of her posse. And then as they walked away from me wearing my Noé, *gasp* (in a hushed whisper), “Oh my God! She’s wearing one too!!!” *astonished, self-righteous and insecure giggles* Maybe we were all supposed to be wearing Hermès? Or? *shrug* Carrying whatever the coolest thing is at the current nano-second?

*deep sigh and eye-roll*

No, but I wear what I like. …I just worry my kids will suffer the real consequences.

“I loved Harlem!” a young lady I went to college with once absentmindedly said about an excursion she had just taken there before gentrification changed it too much. “I just want to sit and observe!” …And by that she meant that she wanted to go see poor and non-white people “in their natural habitat”. I kid you not. …I look back at that and realize the roots of the current attitude towards abundance. Of course, she was very upper-middle class…but…what crisis we face today doesn’t begin and end with the weaknesses and strengths of the bourgeois?

Oh!! And I’ve also realized in the last few weeks that my parents donated 15% of their gross monthly income without fail every single month of my entire childhood. Yeah. Before taxes (so if you made $70,000.00 gross that’s about $1,000.00 or so every month regardless of taxes). …Putting it gently, I had a difficult, beautiful and eccentric childhood in many ways. My parents gave away so much to help people, saved and rarely had debt. Now they are doing quite well due to the families they came from and their hard work. Perhaps karma or God’s blessings are in their favor some might say? But…I think it might have been nice not to be bullied by presumptuous and angsty kids too though… Regardless, God bless my parent’s sincerely generous hearts. Truly.

In this day of “social skills” (instead of math, English, history or science) being the suprème oeuvre of bourgeois-preppy-schools…I do wonder how one is supposed to deal with the real hatred and ignorance we all experience one way or another from each other. Everyone is supposed to be both totally insouciant and jaded towards (the possibility of?) genuine goodness and paradoxically mind-numbingly careful not to be offensive. It’s impossible.

I’ll just slap on a pair of Wayfarers (they’ll be a birthday gift to myself this year) and take it a day at a time. How about you?

Samsara Parfum (A New Review!)

A few weeks ago I wore my 2000’s Guerlain Samsara eau de toilette and I found myself really loving it. It’s a fragrance I never paid much attention to although I recall reading that Barbara Walters once claimed it as her signature fragrance… Is that right? I think so. *shrug*

Anyway, it’s held my attention a lot as of late. And so just recently I bought a bottle of what’s likely 2000’s or 1990’s Guerlain Samsara extrait (I need to look this flacon up online and figure it out ASAP). My goodness what a perfect purchase! I mean, is it possible to go wrong wearing Samsara extrait in the Northern Hemisphere during November?! Unless you have an allergy I doubt it.

The way elegant and rich fruity florals combine with the Guerlinade sandalwood to create this gem is timeless, festive and so truly pretty. And in pure parfum form it’s just as if the beauty inherent in the other concentrations is simply made louder. Unlike some extrait versions of a few fragrances this is not the opulent “skin scent” or lovely but “dense” version of the different variations but truly it’s just more of a very good thing. It’s an extrait that works exceedingly well. I plan to wear it frequently.

Do you have this one? If you do I have a feeling I’ve only echoed your thoughts. Ha! Enjoy.